Though these adorable little heirloom squashes are not as well-known as their cousins the acorn squash and the butternut squash, the delicata squash is definitely gaining in popularity – and for good reason. Not only are they oh-so-tasty, but their skin is more “delicate” than other popular fall squash varieties. This means they are easier to cut and don’t require a wrestling match using a large, sharp knife as is often the case with the tougher butternut squashes. In fact, the skin of the delicata is thin and tender enough to even be edible when cooked.
The yellow flesh of the delicata is sweet and creamy and has a flavor so much like a sweet potato that it’s also been known as a sweet potato squash. In this recipe, I’ve stuffed it with a mix of chewy barley, sauteed mushrooms, and Italian sausage. You can serve it as a side dish, but I think it’s hearty enough to eat as the main course. And if you can’t find delicata squash, you can also use this same recipe for acorn and butternut squash, though the actual baking time may vary.
I hope you try this recipe, and if you do, I hope you love it. Please let me know in the comments below.
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For Roasted Squash:
- Oil for coating baking dish
- 2 medium-sized delicata squash, halved and seeds scooped out
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
To Roast the Squash:
- Heat oven to 375°F and grease a roasting pan. Cut a thin slice off of the round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Place the squash halves cut side up on an oiled baking dish.
- Combine the melted butter and maple syrup, and brush on the flesh side of each squash half. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool until stuffing is ready.
To make the Stuffing:
- While squash is roasting, prepare barley. Combine barley and chicken stock in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender (about 30-45 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- When barley is almost done, prepare the rest of the filling. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, celery, and mushrooms and cook while breaking up into small pieces with a spatula. When sausage is cooked through, and vegetables are tender, add garlic, thyme, and poultry seasoning, and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in cooked barley, then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings to taste.
To Assemble and Bake Stuffed Squash:
- Divide the stuffing mixture between the squash halves, spooning the stuffing into the hollow center of each squash. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and return to oven to bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and allow to cook for 5 minutes before serving.